In response to shelter-in-place orders being implemented across the country, some Americans took to the streets in protest. Some of the protesters argued that people needed to be able to work to provide for their families. Others simply held signs reading, “I need a haircut.”
No matter the reason why they are protesting, these protesters are endangering the lives of essential workers and other Americans who are abiding by the orders and staying at home. By gathering in large groups, with many not wearing masks, protesters have increased the risk of spreading COVID-19, proving exactly why these orders are in place.
Not everyone who is infected with COVID-19 shows symptoms. In fact, there is more evidence now that far more Americans could be infected with COVID-19 than previously thought. New antibody tests have determined that it could be possible that 1 in 5 New Yorkers already had COVID-19. This remained undetected for so long because, since these people didn’t show symptoms, they weren’t tested. If these protesters are infected and then, in turn, infect others, healthcare workers may have to risk their lives providing medical care to them. If they go to a store after being in a large group of people, there is a higher risk they will infect employees or other customers at that store.
It is true that most people who are infected will not die or even need to be hospitalized. Unfortunately, however, that will not be the case for some. Elderly people, people with lung problems, people with autoimmune diseases and countless others are more at risk for complications if they were infected with the virus. These are the people who need to be protected. Since we have no real way of knowing who could be infected at any given time, we need to act as if everyone could potentially be infected with the virus. This is why the stay-at-home orders were implemented in the first place. Gathering in large groups where many people are not wearing masks is just irresponsible behavior in a time of a global pandemic.
Humanity needs to pull together and do what we can to protect each other’s health and safety during this difficult time for everyone. People especially need to do what they can to protect vulnerable people who are relying on them to act responsibly and not spread the virus. It may not seem fair. It may be hard for some people to understand why all of this is happening and why they aren’t allowed to go about life as usual.
This does not mean that we should act without thinking. At the end of the day, no one wants to close businesses down. It negatively affects everyone, both physically and psychologically. However, it is being done in order to protect the vulnerable and high-risk people of America. Protesting your roots growing out is not worth the potential risks. It is not an ideal situation for anyone, no matter who they are or what they’re situation is now. Everyone is suffering the effects of the coronavirus to some extent. But people should just keep the consequences of their actions in mind and use their best judgment before deciding to take to the streets.